Zantac causes cancer says FDA

FDA calls for removal of Zantac from the market

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it is requesting manufacturers withdraw all prescription and over-the-counter ranitidine drugs from the market immediately.

This is the latest step in an ongoing investigation of a contaminant known as N-Nitrosodimethylamine, or NDMA, in ranitidine medications, commonly known by the brand name Zantac.

FDA says Zantac causes cancer; orders product removal

The agency has determined that the impurity in some ranitidine products increases over time and when stored at higher than room temperatures and may result in consumer exposure to unacceptable levels of this impurity.

As a result of this immediate market withdrawal request, ranitidine products will not be available for new or existing prescriptions or OTC use in the U.S. NDMA is a probable human carcinogen.

In the summer of 2019, the FDA became aware of independent laboratory testing that found NDMA in ranitidine.

Low levels of NDMA are commonly ingested in the diet, for example NDMA is present in foods and in water. These low levels would not be expected to lead to an increase in the risk of cancer.

However, sustained higher levels of exposure may increase the risk of cancer in humans.

The FDA conducted thorough laboratory tests and found NDMA in ranitidine at low levels.

Ranitidine causes cancer, Stockwinners

At the time, the agency did not have enough scientific evidence to recommend whether individuals should continue or stop taking ranitidine medicines, and continued its investigation and warned the public in September 2019 of the potential risks and to consider alternative OTC and prescription treatments.

New FDA testing and evaluation prompted by information from third-party laboratories confirmed that NDMA levels increase in ranitidine even under normal storage conditions, and NDMA has been found to increase significantly in samples stored at higher temperatures, including temperatures the product may be exposed to during distribution and handling by consumers.

The testing also showed that the older a ranitidine product is, or the longer the length of time since it was manufactured, the greater the level of NDMA.

These conditions may raise the level of NDMA in the ranitidine product above the acceptable daily intake limit.

With today’s announcement, the FDA is sending letters to all manufacturers of ranitidine requesting they withdraw their products from the market.

The FDA is also advising consumers taking OTC ranitidine to stop taking any tablets or liquid they currently have, dispose of them properly and not buy more; for those who wish to continue treating their condition, they should consider using other approved OTC products.

FDA orders removal of Zantac, Stockwinners

Patients taking prescription ranitidine should speak with their health care professional about other treatment options before stopping the medicine, as there are multiple drugs approved for the same or similar uses as ranitidine that do not carry the same risks from NDMA.

To date, the FDA’s testing has not found NDMA in famotidine (Pepcid), cimetidine (Tagamet), esomeprazole (Nexium), lansoprazole (Prevacid) or omeprazole (Prilosec). Zantac is marketed and sold by Sanofi (SNY).

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Amarin shares tumble as court voids patent

Amarin ‘strongly disagrees’ with ruling in Vascepa ANDA litigation

Shares of Amarin (AMRN) tumbled in after hours trading after a federal judge ruled patents on its best selling drug, Vascepa was invalid. The company issued the following statement after shares tumbled 65 percent.

Amarin loses patent on its Vascepa, Stockwinners

Vascepa (Icosapent ethyl) is a type of omega-3 fatty acid, a fat found in fish oil. It is used along with a proper diet to help lower fats (triglycerides) in the blood. This medication is thought to work by decreasing the amount of triglycerides made by the body.

Amarin Corporation (AMRN) commented on the United States District Court for the District of Nevada’s ruling in favor of the generic companies in the company’s patent litigation against two filers of abbreviated new drug applications, or ANDAs, for Amarin’s VASCEPA capsule franchise.

Vascepa is derived from fish oil, Stockwinners

Based on Amarin’s review of U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website, an ANDA for VASCEPA has not been approved, which would be required for launch of a generic product in the United States.

The company thus does not believe there is an impending generic launch by the litigants that would compete with VASCEPA at this time.

“Amarin strongly disagrees with the ruling and will vigorously pursue all available remedies, including an appeal of the Court’s decision and a preliminary injunction pending appeal to, if an ANDA is approved by FDA, prevent launch of generic versions of VASCEPA in the United States,” said John F. Thero, president and chief executive officer of Amarin.

“At Amarin, we have a strong balance sheet with capacity and flexibility, and we plan to fight to protect our VASCEPA franchise for the benefit of our patients, physicians, the broader healthcare community and our investors.

We believe we are favorably situated to obtain an injunction against generic launch pending appeal, subject to our posting a bond to secure generics’ lost profits in the event that generics prevail on appeal.

UK’s Hikma Pharma. had asked for overturn of the patent

As we work to take all legal actions necessary to defend and protect our intellectual property, we will continue to press forward with our educational and promotional efforts for VASCEPA in treating indicated patients at high risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke. After we determine the outcome of our effort to prevent a generic launch (if an ANDA approval is obtained), we expect to provide an update on how we would adjust certain promotional activities for VASCEPA in the United States.”

Generic drug maker Dr. Reddy’s will be making generic Vascepa

Generic drugmakers Hikma Pharmaceuticals of UK and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Limited  (RDY) had asked to overturn the patents so they can begin making generic versions of the medication.

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COVID-19 vaccine is coming

Johnson & Johnson announces lead vaccine candidate for COVID-19

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) announced the selection of a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate from constructs it has been working on since January 2020.

JNJ’s Janssen Pharmaceutical promises a Covid-19 Vaccine, Stockwinners

The significant expansion of the existing partnership between the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA); and the rapid scaling of the company’s manufacturing capacity with the goal of providing global supply of more than one billion doses of a vaccine.

Janssen expects a Covid-19 vaccines by 2021, Stockwinners

The company expects to initiate human clinical studies of its lead vaccine candidate at the latest by September and anticipates the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021, a substantially accelerated time frame in comparison to the typical vaccine development process.

Through a landmark new partnership, BARDA, which is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Johnson & Johnson together have committed more than $1B of investment to co-fund vaccine research, development, and clinical testing. Johnson & Johnson will use its validated vaccine platform and is allocating resources, including personnel and infrastructure globally, as needed, to focus on these efforts.

Covid-19 has shut down most of the world, Stockwinners.com

Separately, BARDA and the company have provided additional funding that will enable expansion of their ongoing work to identify potential antiviral treatments against the novel coronavirus.

As part of its commitment, Johnson & Johnson is also expanding the company’s global manufacturing capacity, including through the establishment of new U.S. vaccine manufacturing capabilities and scaling up capacity in other countries.

The additional capacity will assist in the rapid production of a vaccine and will enable the supply of more than one billion doses of a safe and effective vaccine globally.

The company plans to begin production at risk imminently and is committed to bringing an affordable vaccine to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use.

JNJ closed at $123.16, last traded at $128.85.

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Willis Towers Watson sold for $30B in stock

Aon plc to combine with Willis Towers Watson in all-stock transaction

Aon plc (AON) and Willis Towers Watson (WLTW) announced a definitive agreement to combine in an all-stock transaction with an implied combined equity value of approximately $80B.

The combined company, to be named Aon, will be “the premier, technology-enabled global professional services firm focused on the areas of risk, retirement and health,” the companies stated.

Willis Tower Watson merges with AON, Stockwinners

Aon will maintain operating headquarters in London, United Kingdom. John Haley will take on the role of Executive Chairman with a focus on growth and innovation strategy.

The combined firm will be led by Greg Case and Aon Chief Financial Officer Christa Davies.

AON merges with Willis Tower Watson

Under the terms of the agreement unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, each Willis Towers Watson shareholder will receive 1.08 Aon ordinary shares for each Willis Towers Watson ordinary share, and Aon shareholders will continue to own the same number of ordinary shares in the combined company as they do immediately prior to the closing.

Upon completion of the combination, existing Aon shareholders will own approximately 63% and existing Willis Towers Watson shareholders will own approximately 37% of the combined company on a fully diluted basis.

Aon anticipates that the transaction will provide annual pre-tax synergies and other cost reductions of $800M by the third full year of combination, thereby allowing the firm to continue significant investment in innovation and growth. Potential revenue synergies due to complementary capabilities are expected but not included in the synergy estimates.

The transaction is expected to be accretive to Aon adjusted EPS in the first full year of the combination with peak adjusted EPS accretion in the high teens after full realization of $800M of pre-tax synergies.

Willis Towers Watson and Aon anticipate savings of $267M in the first full year of the combination, reaching $600M in the second full year, with the full $800M achieved in the third full year.

Free cash flow accretion is expected to breakeven in the second full year of the combination with free cash flow accretion of more than 10% after full realization of synergies.

The transaction is expected to generate over $10B of shareholder value creation from the capitalized value of the expected pre-tax synergies, based on the blended 2020 price to earnings ratio of Willis Towers Watson and Aon UK on 6 March 2020, net of $2.0B in one-time transaction, retention and integration costs.

WTLW last traded at $193.13. AON last traded at $192.15.

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Mallinckrodt Pays $1.6B into Opioid Trust Fund, Avoids Bankruptcy

North Carolina AG announces $1.6B opioid settlement with Mallinckrodt

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced a global settlement framework agreement between state attorneys general, local subdivisions, and the opioid manufacturer Mallinckrodt (MNK), its subsidiaries, and certain other affiliates.

MNK is currently the largest generic opioid manufacturer in the United States.

MNK pays $1.6B to avoid bankruptcy, Stockwinners

In the agreement, MNK agrees to pay $1.6B in cash to a trust that will cover the costs of opioid addiction treatment and related efforts, with the potential for increased payment to the trust.

The agreement in principle has been reached with a court-appointed plaintiffs’ executive committee representing the interests of thousands of plaintiffs in the opioid multidistrict litigation, and is supported by a broad-based group of 47 state and U.S. Territory Attorneys General.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, which would become effective upon Specialty Generics’ emergence from a contemplated Chapter 11 process, subject to court approval and other conditions: Plaintiffs would receive $1.6B in structured payments, of which $300M would be received upon Specialty Generics’ emergence from the completed Chapter 11 case, $200M would be received on each of the first and second anniversaries of emergence, and $150M would be received on each of the third through eighth anniversaries of emergence.

The substantial majority of those payments are expected to be contributed to a trust which, among other things, would establish an abatement fund to be administered to cover the costs of opioid-addiction treatment and related efforts.

Upon Specialty Generics’ emergence from the contemplated Chapter 11 process, the trust would receive warrants, exercisable at $3.15 per share, to purchase ordinary shares that would represent approximately 19.99% of the company’s fully diluted outstanding shares, including after giving effect to the exercise of the warrants.

To implement the proposed settlement, the company expects that Specialty Generics, which manufactures certain generic opioid products, among other products, will file voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the coming months.

Mallinckrodt and its Specialty Brands-related subsidiaries would not be part of the Chapter 11 filing.

This court-supervised process is expected to lead to the creation of a trust which, among other things, would establish an abatement fund to offset the expense of helping to combat opioid addiction and providing support to communities impacted by opioid abuse.

The court-supervised process is also expected to provide a fair, orderly, efficient and legally binding mechanism to resolve all opioid-related claims against the company, Specialty Generics, and all of Mallinckrodt’s other subsidiaries and related entities. It is expected that Mallinckrodt plc would receive the benefit of a “channeling injunction” that would provide for the release of all opioid-related claims that have been or could have been asserted against Mallinckrodt or its subsidiaries related to Specialty Generics’ manufacture and sale of opioids prior to the time the Specialty Generics Chapter 11 plan becomes effective.

MNK also agrees that its future generic opioid business will be subject to stringent injunctive relief that, among other things, will prevent marketing and ensure systems are in place to prevent drug misuse.

“Confronting the opioid epidemic has been my top priority as North Carolina’s Attorney General,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Families all across our state have been torn apart as far too many of our relatives, friends, and neighbors have become sick with addiction and died. The companies that helped to create and fuel this deadly crisis must help us recover. That is exactly why I led negotiations with Mallinckrodt and fought to bring these needed funds home to North Carolina where they will help people get well.”

MNK is up 63 cents to $4.80.

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AVX sold for about $3.7B

AVX to be acquired by Kyocera for $21.75 per share in cash

AVX Corp. (AVX) announced that Kyocera and AVX have entered into a definitive merger agreement providing for the acquisition by Kyocera of all the outstanding shares of common stock of AVX not owned by Kyocera pursuant to an all-cash tender offer for $21.75 per share, followed by a squeeze-out merger in which all of the outstanding shares of AVX common stock not tendered in the Tender Offer will be converted into the right to receive $21.75 per share of common stock, in cash.

Kyocera currently owns approximately 72% of the outstanding shares of AVX common stock.

Following completion of the Transaction, AVX will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Kyocera.

Kyocera buys the rest of AVX shares that it did not own, Stockwinners

The $21.75 offer price represents a 44.6% premium over AVX’s closing price on November 26, 2019 and a 42.1%, 42.4%, and 34.9% premium over AVX’s 1-, 3- and 12- month average closing share price, respectively.

As previously announced, following receipt of a proposal from Kyocera to acquire all of the outstanding shares of AVX common stock that Kyocera does not own for a price of $19.50 in cash, the AVX board of directors appointed a special committee consisting of three independent directors of AVX for purposes of evaluating and negotiating a potential transaction with Kyocera.

AVX Corp. sold to Kyocera, Stockwinners

Following the formation of the Special Committee, Kyocera and the Special Committee have been in discussions and negotiations regarding Kyocera’s proposal to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of AVX not owned by Kyocera.

The board of AVX, acting on the recommendation of the Special Committee, has approved the Transaction and determined to recommend that the AVX stockholders tender their shares in the Tender Offer.

The Transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is not subject to any financing condition. Kyocera has announced that it currently expects the Transaction to close in the fourth quarter of Kyocera’s fiscal year ending March 2020.

The Tender Offer will be subject to customary conditions and will not be subject to any minimum condition.

AVX is a leading worldwide manufacturer, supplier, and reseller of a broad line of electronic components, interconnect, sensing and control devices, and related products. Electronic components and connector, sensing and control products manufactured or resold by AVX are used in many types of end use products, including those in telecommunications, automotive, transportation, energy harvesting, consumer electronics, military/aerospace, medical, computer, and industrial markets. 

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Morgan Stanley to acquire E-Trade for $58.74 per share

Morgan Stanley acquires E-Trade in all-stock deal valued at $13B

Morgan Stanley (MS) and E-Trade Financial (ETFC) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Morgan Stanley will acquire E-Trade in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $13B.

Etrade sold for $13 B, Stockwinners

Under the terms of the agreement, E-Trade stockholders will receive 1.0432 Morgan Stanley shares for each E-Trade share, which represents per share consideration of $58.74 based on the closing price of Morgan Stanley.

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and approval by E-Trade shareholders, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Morgan Stanley pays $13B for Etrade. Stockwinners

The transaction provides “significant upside potential” for shareholders of both Morgan Stanley and E-Trade, the company said in a statement.

“Shareholders from both companies will benefit from potential cost savings estimated at approximately $400 million from maximizing efficiencies of technology infrastructure, optimizing shared corporate services and combining the bank entities, as well as potential funding synergies of approximately $150 million from optimizing E-Trade’s approximate $56 billion of deposits,” they said.

Morgan Stanley said its “full-service, advisor-driven model coupled with E-Trade”s direct-to-consumer and digital capabilities, will allow the combined business to have best-in-class product and service offerings to support the full spectrum of wealth.”

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Legg Mason sold for $6.5B including debt assumption

Franklin Templeton to acquire Legg Mason for $50.00 per share in cash

Franklin Resources (BEN) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Legg Mason (LM) for $50.00 per share of common stock in an all-cash transaction.

The company will also assume approximately $2B of Legg Mason’s outstanding debt.

Franklin Templeton buys Legg Mason for $4.5B, Stockwinners

The acquisition of Legg Mason and its multiple investment affiliates, which collectively manage over $806 billion in assets as of January 31, will establish Franklin Templeton as one of the world’s largest independent, specialized global investment managers with a combined $1.5 trillion in assets under management, or AUM, across one of the broadest ranges of high-quality investment teams in the industry.

Legg Mason sold for $4.5B cash and $2B debt assumptions, Stockwinners

The combined footprint of the organization will significantly deepen Franklin Templeton’s presence in key geographies and create an expansive investment platform that is well balanced between institutional and retail client AUM.

In addition, the combined platform creates a strong separately managed account business. Trian Fund Management, L.P. and funds managed by it, which collectively own approximately 4 million shares or 4.5% of the outstanding stock of Legg Mason, have entered into a voting agreement in support of the transaction.

With this acquisition, Franklin Templeton will preserve the autonomy of Legg Mason’s affiliates, ensuring that their investment philosophies, processes and brands remain unchanged.

As with any acquisition, the pending integration of Legg Mason’s parent company into Franklin Templeton’s, including the global distribution operations at the parent company level, will take time and only commence after careful and deliberate consideration.

Following the closing of the transaction, Jenny Johnson will continue to serve as president and CEO, and Greg Johnson will continue to serve as executive chairman of the Board of Franklin Resources, Inc.

There will be no changes to the senior management teams of Legg Mason’s investment affiliates.

Global headquarters will remain in San Mateo, CA and the combined firm will operate as Franklin Templeton.

The all-cash consideration of $4.5 billion will be funded from the Company’s existing balance sheet cash.

Franklin Templeton will also assume approximately $2 billion in Legg Mason’s outstanding debt.

Upon closing of the transaction, Franklin Templeton expects to maintain a robust balance sheet and considerable financial flexibility with pro forma gross debt of approximately $2.7 billion with remaining cash and investments of approximately $5.3 billion.

This transaction is designed to preserve the Company’s financial strength and stability with modest leverage, significant liquidity and strong cash flow to provide ongoing flexibility to invest in further growth and innovation.

This transaction is expected to generate upper twenties percentage GAAP EPS accretion in Fiscal 2021 (based on street consensus earnings estimates for each company), excluding one-time charges, non-recurring and acquisition related expenses.

While cost synergies have not been a strategic driver of the transaction, there are opportunities to realize efficiencies through parent company rationalization and global distribution optimization.

These are expected to result in approximately $200 million in annual cost savings, net of significant growth investments Franklin Templeton expects to make in the combined business and in addition to Legg Mason’s previously announced cost savings.

The majority of these savings are expected to be realized within a year, following the close of the transaction, with the remaining synergies being realized over the next one to two years.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of Franklin Resources, Inc. and Legg Mason, Inc.

This transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and approval by Legg Mason’s shareholders, and is expected to close no later than the third calendar quarter of 2020.

LM closed at $40.72. BEN closed at $24.36.

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SmilesDirect and NBC clash

NBC reports problems with SDC, company claims poor reporting

SmileDirectClub (SDC) promises to fix customers’ smiles for about a third of the cost of traditional braces with at-home teeth straightening, but a number of patients say the aligners instead caused painful problems, NBC News reported yesterday.

SmilesDirect sells braces directly to consumers, Stockwinners

The Better Business Bureau reports more than 1,800 complaints nationwide involving SmileDirectClub, according to the report. Last month, nine members of Congress asked the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate SmileDirectClub “to ensure that it is not misleading consumers or causing patient harm.”

SmileDirectClub issues the following statement in response to the NBC story on the company.

The company said, in part, “We are disappointed that though we provided NBC with the opportunity to obtain all relevant facts as to the safety and efficacy of teledentistry for the provision of clear aligner therapy, NBC failed to provide its viewers with a balanced and fair news story reflecting those facts.

SDC package, Stockwinners

The piece misrepresents SmileDirectClub and the quality of care provided by the over 250 state-licensed dentists and orthodontists across the country who use our platform to treat their patients. We are surprised by the journalist’s blatant disregard for the facts and failure to include all of the accurate information we provided.

Notably, the almost five-minute report and online story does not include one interview or statement from the more than 750,000 satisfied customers who have used our products to improve their lives, nor does it include a single interview with any of the hundreds of dentists who have publicly supported our technology.

NBC reports a negative story on SDC

In fact, though NBC conducted interviews over the last 30 days with these doctors and customers under the guise of providing a fair and balanced story, their statements were not included or referenced in this story.

NBC airs this report causing SDC shares to tumble, Stockwinners

SmileDirectClub made customers, doctors and team members available for hours of in-person interviews, phone calls and email correspondence. The Company provided a tremendous amount of critical information that would have allowed NBC to report a more accurate and balanced story…There is no investigation into SmileDirectClub by the Federal Drug Administration or the FTC, and SmileDirectClub is in full compliance with FDA regulations, including its 510K manufacturing certification.

The letter referenced from members of Congress to the FDA is based on misinformation originated by dental trade organizations and is nothing more than the latest in a series of anti-competitive publicity tactics designed to attempt to limit our success, which is a direct threat to traditional orthodontia.

Of the nine congressmen who signed this letter, five are dentists, an interest that should be noted by an organization such as NBC Nightly News…Lastly, the California law states that dentists should review the “…patient’s most recent diagnostic digital or conventional radiographs or other equivalent bone imaging suitable for orthodontia.

New radiographs or other equivalent bone imaging shall be ordered if deemed appropriate by the treating dentist.” The doctors who use our platform are required to comply with the laws in every state in which they practice when using our platform, including the laws of the State of California.

While SmileDirectClub disagrees that the legislature should be setting clinical standards, we ensure that our model requires compliance with all laws.”

SDC closed at $15.33, last traded at $14.78.

Note that in recent days, Fidelity and Blackrock took major positions in SmilesDirect.

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Watch shares of iCAD

iCAD announces first metastatic brain tumor treated with Xoft Axxent eBx System

iCAD (ICAD) announced the first metastatic brain tumor was treated in the U.S. with intraoperative radiation therapy, or IORT, using the Xoft Axxent Electronic Brachytherapy, or eBx, System.

This procedure is the start of a clinical trial on IORT for patients with large brain metastases treated with neurological resection with the Xoft System.

iCAD reports positive brain tumor data, Stockwinners

The Xoft System is also currently being studied for the treatment of other types of brain tumors in institutions worldwide, including the European Medical Center.

Positive preliminary clinical data on Xoft IORT for the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma, or GBM, was presented at the European Association of Neurosurgical Societies, or EANS.

The Xoft System is made by iCAD, Stockwinners

In a matched pair study, 30 patients were treated for recurrent GBM.

The IORT group was treated with a single fraction of radiation immediately following surgical resection, without chemotherapy or temozolomide following surgery.

The comparison group was treated with routine postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy +/- concomitant or sequential EBRT. Median overall survival, or OS, in group A was 24 months; OS for group B was 21 months.

As of September 2019, nine patients were still alive from group A, whereas none of the patients in group B survived.

A retrospective analysis published in World Neurosurgery examined the repeat resection and the various methods of IORT for the treatment of malignant brain gliomas, including high-energy linear accelerators and modern, integrated brachytherapy solutions using solid and balloon applicators.

iCAD, Inc. provides image analysis, workflow solutions, and radiation therapy for the early identification and treatment of cancer in the United States and internationally. It operates through two segments, Cancer Detection and Cancer Therapy. The company provides electronic brachytherapy (eBX) products, including Axxent eBx systems for the treatment of early stage breast cancer, endometrial cancer, cervical cancer, and skin cancer, as well as for treating other cancers or conditions where radiation therapy is indicated comprising intraoperative radiation therapy.

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FGL Holdings sold for $2.7B

FGL Holdings to be acquired by Fidelity National for $12.50 per share

FGL Holdings (FG) announced that the company has entered into a merger agreement pursuant to which Fidelity National Financial (FNF) will acquire F&G for $12.50 per share, representing an equity value of approximately $2.7B.

The transaction was approved by a Special Committee of F&G Directors, a Special Committee of FNF Directors and the FNF board.

FGL sold for $2.7 billion, Stockwinners

Under the terms of the merger agreement, holders of F&G’s ordinary shares (other than FNF and its subsidiaries) may elect to receive either $12.50 per share in cash or 0.2558 of a share of FNF common stock for each ordinary share of F&G they own.

FGL Holdings sells individual life insurance products and annuities in the United States. The company offers deferred annuities, including fixed indexed annuity contracts and fixed rate annuity contracts; immediate annuities; and life insurance products. It also provides reinsurance on asset intensive, long duration life, and annuity liabilities, such as fixed, deferred and payout annuities, long-term care, group long-term disability, and cash value life insurance. 

This is subject to an election and proration mechanism such that the aggregate consideration paid to such holders of F&G’s ordinary shares will consist of approximately 60% cash and 40% FNF common stock. Upon closing of the transaction, F&G shareholders will own approximately 7% of the outstanding shares of FNF common stock.

FNF pays $2.7B for FGL Holdings, Stockwinners

This represents a premium of 28% to F&G’s 60-day volume-weighted average price and a premium of 17% to F&G’s all-time high closing stock price following its combination with CF Corp. of $10.70 prior to February 6, when the media reported a potential transaction.

FNF currently owns 7.9% of F&G’s outstanding ordinary shares and all of F&G’s Series B Preferred shares, and, in connection with and immediately prior to the closing of the proposed acquisition, will acquire all outstanding F&G Series A preferred shares, with a face value of approximately $321 million as of December 31, 2019. Including the assumption of F&G’s $550 million of senior notes due 2025, FNF’s pro forma debt to total capital is expected to be approximately 26% at the close of the transaction.

The transaction is expected to close in the second or third quarter of 2020, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory clearances and approval by F&G shareholders.

Following the close of the transaction, F&G will operate as a subsidiary of FNF. F&G is expected to remain headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, and will continue to be led by Chris Blunt and F&G’s current management team.

The terms of the merger agreement provide that F&G will be permitted, with the assistance of its legal and financial advisors, to actively solicit alternative acquisition proposals from third parties during a 40-day “go-shop” period from the date of the merger agreement until Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

F&G may terminate the merger agreement to enter into a superior proposal with specified bidders identified in this period for a termination fee of $39.97M, subject to the terms and conditions of the merger agreement.

There is no guarantee that the “go-shop” process will result in any alternative acquisition proposal or that any alternative acquisition proposal will be identified at any time, or approved or completed.

F&G does not intend to disclose developments with respect to the “go-shop” process unless and until F&G’s Special Committee and/or F&G’s board makes a determination requiring further disclosure.

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Unisys Federal sold for $1.2 billion

SAIC to acquire Unisys Federal for $1.2B in cash

Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Unisys Federal (UIS), in an all-cash transaction valued at $1.2B, in a highly strategic and value creating transaction, the company said.

This represents a transaction multiple of approximately 10.5x CY2020 adjusted EBITDA, adjusted for the net present value of tax assets.

SAIC buys Uinsys Federal, Stockwinners

Unisys Federal, an operating unit of Unisys (UIS), is a provider of infrastructure modernization, cloud migration, managed services, and enterprise IT-as-a-service through scalable and repeatable solutions to U.S. federal civilian agencies and the Department of Defense.

SAIC expects to fund the $1.2B cash transaction through a combination of cash on hand and incremental debt.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of SAIC’s first quarter of fiscal year 2021, ending May 1, 2020, following customary closing conditions, including HSR regulatory clearance.

Unisys Federal sold to SAIC, Stockwinners

The transaction has been unanimously approved by SAIC’s Board of Directors. The businesses will continue to operate independently until the transaction closes.

“With the addition of Unisys Federal, SAIC will be a leading provider of digital transformation services and solutions to the federal government.

This exciting opportunity advances our strategy by building on our modernization capabilities, increasing customer access, accelerating growth and enhancing shareholder value,” said SAIC CEO Nazzic Keene.

“The financial benefits of acquiring Unisys Federal are compelling, including accretion of adjusted EBITDA margins, non-GAAP earnings per share, and cash generation.”

The transaction multiple of approximately 13x LTM 9/30/19 Adjusted EBITDA represents a significant premium to Unisys’ trading multiple.

Net proceeds are largely expected to be used to pay down debt and reduce pension obligations, thereby significantly improving Unisys’ balance sheet, its U.S. pension funded status and overall financial flexibility.

The transaction was unanimously approved by the Unisys board and is expected to close in the first half of 2020, subject to customary closing conditions. Unisys’ U.S. Federal business represents more than 1,900 associates, with approximately $689 million in revenue for the LTM period ended September 30, 2019. 

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Miragen Therapeutics shares soar on leukemia data

Miragen Therapeutics announces data from Phase 1 trial of cobomarsen

Miragen Therapeutics (MGEN) announced new efficacy and safety data from the ATLL arm of its ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial of cobomarsen, which will be presented at the 12th Annual T-Cell Lymphoma Forum in La Jolla, CA, which is taking place from January 30th to February 1st.

Miragen shares soar on its test data, Stockwinners

Of note are the data from the subtype of aggressive ATLL patients (Adult T-Cell Leukemia Lymphoma (ATLL)) who at study entry had persistent residual disease after chemotherapy or other therapy.

In the trial, six patients of this subtype had an MST of 26 months with three patients still on treatment at the time of data analysis.

Adult T-Cell Leukemia Lymphoma does not have a cure, Stockwinners

The Company was most encouraged, however, by the observed biomarker activity showing that disease stabilization is marked by a decrease in biomarkers of tumor cells activation and proliferation, providing evidence of the biological mechanism effect of cobomarsen on disease stabilization.

The Company is evaluating cobomarsen in an ongoing Phase 1 basket trial of cancers where the disease process appears to be correlated with an increase in miR-155 levels, including ATLL, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Today’s announcement includes results for the first 15 patients with aggressive subtypes of ATLL who were treated with three doses of cobomarsen by intravenous infusion, including 600, 900 and 1200 mg doses.

The preliminary results from this first-in-human Phase 1 clinical trial of the miR-155 inhibitor, cobomarsen, in patients with ATLL was observed to improve disease stabilization and reduce biomarker expression associated with ATLL cellular proliferation and activation in patients with persistent residual disease after chemotherapy and other therapies.

Of the 15 ATLL patients treated with cobomarsen, nine were actively relapsing at the time of screening, and six had residual nodal or circulating leukemic disease after chemotherapy or other systemic therapies.

For these six patients, the duration of cobomarsen treatment ranged from 4.5 to 23.7 months, with three patients still on study as of October 17, 2019.

MST of these patients was 26 months, compared with the 7.4 months MST from a retrospective external historical cohort based on a literature search of peer-reviewed papers. The Company compiled a historical external control which includes a series of studies with ATLL patients treated with standard of care over the past 10 years.

These studies included more than 6,000 ATLL patients. The Company calculated an MST from diagnosis of 7.4 months for patients with the aggressive ATLL subtypes, regardless of the type of therapy or number of therapies administered.

Five of these six patients treated with cobomarsen were alive as of the October 17, 2019 data analysis. In the trial, disease stabilization was marked by an observed decrease in Ki-67, a biomarker of cell proliferation, as well as other biomarkers of cell activation on circulating tumor cells, providing evidence of the biological mechanism effect of cobomarsen on disease stabilization.

For the clinical trial, the Company established a retrospective external historical cohort based on a literature search of peer-reviewed papers which reported MST from diagnosis and PFS on large cohorts of ATLL patients over the last decade.

A total of 16 papers describing unique cohorts of patients from Japan, the United States, South America and Europe were included in the MST retrospective analysis, of which 12 included data regarding MST for combined aggressive subtypes and eight reported MST for both acute and lymphomatous sub-types separately but not for the combined aggressive subtypes.

The number of patients included in each publication varied from 54 to 1,792, for a total of 6,440 patients.

Chronic administration of cobomarsen has been generally safe and well tolerated with a favorable safety profile over one year of dosing on a weekly basis.

There were 196 total reported adverse events as of October 17, 2019, with only 22% of the total AEs considered possibly related to study drug, and 86% of the total AEs considered mild or moderate. 14% of the total AEs were Grade 3 or 4 and most resolved within 11 days.

With no drug related deaths and only two serious adverse events occurring in the same patient and deemed possibly related to the study drug, the observed safety profile of cobomarsen in ATLL through October 17, 2019 appears to be benign and well tolerated with chronic dosing.

MGEN closed at $1.69, last traded at $2.80.

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Alkermes submits NDA for its schizophrenia drug

Alkermes says FDA accepts ALKS 3831 NDA for review, assigns Nov. 15 PDUFA date

Alkermes (ALKS) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has accepted for review the company’s New Drug Application, or NDA, seeking approval of ALKS 3831 for the treatment of schizophrenia and for the treatment of bipolar I disorder.

Alkermes announces FDA Refusal to File letter received for ALKS 5461. Stockwinners
Alkermes announces filing on NDA for ALKS3831, Stockwinners

ALKS 3831 is an investigational, novel, once-daily, oral atypical antipsychotic drug candidate designed to provide the efficacy of olanzapine while mitigating olanzapine-associated weight gain.

The NDA has been assigned a Prescription Drug User Fee Act, or PDUFA, target action date of Nov. 15, 2020.

“The acceptance of the NDA for ALKS 3831 marks an important milestone toward our goal of offering a new treatment option to people living with schizophrenia or bipolar I disorder. The ALKS 3831 development program builds on Alkermes’ commitment to developing new therapeutic options that seek to address unmet needs of patients in large therapeutic areas. We believe ALKS 3831 has the potential to be a meaningful new offering for patients with these serious and complex mental health disorders, and we look forward to engaging with the FDA throughout the NDA review process,” said Craig Hopkinson, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Alkermes.

Alkermes plc researches, develops, and commercializes pharmaceutical products to address unmet medical needs of patients in various therapeutic areas in the United States, Ireland, and internationally.

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Tesla shares lower as sales slowdown

Tesla registrations nearly halved in California in Q4

Tesla’s (TSLA) overall vehicle registrations nearly halved in California during the fourth quarter, according to a Dominion Cross-Sell report, which collates data from state motor vehicle records, Reuters reports.

https://stockwinners.com/blog/
Tesla shares lower as sales slow down, Stockwinners

The report showed registrations in California plunged 46.5% to 13,584 in the quarter ended December 2019, from 25,402 in the same period a year earlier.

Model 3 registrations, which accounted for about three-fourth of the total, halved to 10,694.

Tesla Model 3 named Popular Mechanics' Car of the Year
Tesla Model 3 named Car of the Year, Stockwinners

The massive drop comes as tax credit for Tesla buyers ended in 2019. It had fallen to $3,750 at the start of the year and had halved to $1,875 in July.

An existing $7,500 U.S. tax credit for electric vehicles (EVs), which allows taxpayers to deduct a part of the cost of buying an electric car, phases out over 15 months once an automaker hits 200,000 cumulative EV sales, which Tesla hit in July 2018.

Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas downgraded Tesla to Underweight from Equal Weight with a price target of $360, up from $250.

The analyst sees an unfavorable risk/reward at current valuation levels following the stock’s recent rally.

Tesla gets a boost from Bud. See Stockwinners.com
Tesla is expected to rollout is big rig soon, Stockwinners

Further, he believes risks to Tesla’s long-term Chinese business may not be fully appreciated by the market.

Four factors have driven Tesla’s share price up 105% over the last four months, namely stronger than expected global demand for its vehicles, China announcements that show the company’s expansion into the world’s largest electric vehicle market, supportive incentive developments and positive sentiment around its product expansion, Jonas tells investors in a research note.

The analyst, while admitting near-term momentum and sentiment around the stock is very strong, questions the “sustainability of the momentum.” Jonas increased his expectations for Tesla’s core auto business while decreasing his expectations for the mobility business, resulting in the price target raise to $360.

TSLA is down 2.75% to $504.

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